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Maximizing Small Spaces (on an even smaller budget)

Turning the key in the lock of your first apartment is one of those feelings you just can’t describe -- the nervous butterflies in the pit of your stomach, the excitement coursing over every inch of your skin, and the quiet fear creeping in because for the first time in your life you realize, not only are you OFFICIALLY "adulting", you’re actually alone.

But, even though you’re scared, you also feel this intense burst of energy because you now know this is what freedom feels like -- and you can’t ever go back!

Looking around that blank canvas of empty space, there is only one word that comes to mind: DECORATE!

But, before you can even think about decorating your space, there are probably some serious realities you have to face.

Today, we Generation Xers are at the height of societal change. Technology is advancing, cities are developing, fashion is more accessible -- we are the physical embodiment of “bigger is better”; but, there's one thing that's getting increasingly smaller… and that is apartment space.

HARSH REALITY #1: Unless you have a million dollars sitting in your bank account or you live over 45 minutes away in the boonies, then your apartment is probably a closet.

HARSH REALITY #2: After shelling out first, last, and security; paying the activation fees on your power, internet, water and cable; and paying a moving company (or your best friend's cousin with pizza and beer) to pack up your entire life in a truck and drive across town, another word comes to mind when you look at your bank account... BROKE.

So, if you, like most of us "new adults", are just trying to make it, and you find yourself wanting to decorate with no space (and no money to do it), here are some tips to help you out!


We always see pictures of gorgeous furnished rooms in magazines and on TV and dream of our spaces looking just like that; but the reality is, you may just not have the space (or the cash) to do it! That doesn’t mean you should give up on your designer dreams though. Instead of stockpiling your space with a ton of digs, just KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Focus on essential pieces to maximize your space and funds.

For open concept living rooms splurge on an L-shaped sectional instead of 2 smaller sofas. It'll fill the open space, and save you money on extra decor and seating. Sectionals are pretty pricey, but that one item can save you tons in additional filler pieces. Plus, it can double as your guestroom -- a multi-functional investment? I'd call that a win! *Tip: Sectionals are large so make sure that you position it to leave enough open area that your home doesn’t feel congested.

For smaller, closed spaces, a two - three seater couch and one accent chair will do the trick. This will provide amble seating and create the illusion of a fuller, more cohesive look.


Invest in a cubicle bookshelf. To minimize clutter, and keep your space feeling modern and spacious, fill it with inserts. Clutter will make your space feel small; so storage is always key.

Double your bookshelf as your tv stand or opt to put the tv stand on the wall above it. This will save you space in the long run and eliminate the need for a large (and pricey) entertainment unit.

If you have a kitchen island, invest in bar stools instead of a dining table. Dining sets are pricey and often close up valuable walking space in your apartment.

If you absolutely must have a dining table, try an elevated or counter height one. The raised look will give the illusion of having more space!


Light colors are the key to opening up a room. Dark colors make spaces look smaller and can create a stuffy feeling. While in larger homes, dark colors can create a sense of coziness, smaller spaces end up feeling tight and congested.

When choosing furniture, rugs, and picture frames, stick to white, sand, or light grey colors to create light and circulate air in the room.

We all know that light colours can come off a tad boring, so use your accent pillows, lamps, and other decor to show your playful side and provide pops of color!

With that said, it's time to start decorating!


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